WASHINGTON — The single Article of Impeachment charging President Donald Trump with Incitement of Insurrection came one week to the day after the deadly mob attack on the U.S. Capitol, and with one week to go until his term would be up and he'd no longer be President anyway.
For seven hours, lawmakers debated passionately and largely along partisan lines, with Democrats contending that Trump lit the fuse that ignited the melee, and he should pay a price for his words at the rally minutes before his supporters stormed the Capitol.
"His actions are seditious," said Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va., 2nd District). "And the President has proven that he is not fit to serve. History will look back on this moment to see who stood strong in support of American democracy."
"This is a moment of truth, my friends," said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va., 11th District). "Are you on the side of chaos and the mob? Or the side of Constitutional democracy and freedom? It's that simple."
Representatives Bobby Scott (D-Va., 3rd District) and Donald McEachin (D-Va., 4th District) also voted to impeach.
“Today’s bipartisan vote reaffirms the fundamental truth that the security of our democracy is our first priority,” Rep. Scott said. “It is my hope that the Senate will convict and remove Donald Trump and we can all move forward from this dark chapter in our nation’s history. I look forward to working with the incoming Biden Administration to begin healing our country.”
“Today I will vote to impeach President Donald Trump for his role in the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol,” Rep. McEachin said. “President Trump has violated his oath of office and in doing so put countless Americans at risk, endangered our Republic and threatened our national security. He is unfit to lead the United States for even a day longer.”
But, Republicans countered that impeachment is unwarranted and will do more harm than good.
"This action will only further fuel the political divide in our citizens and will be detrimental to the long-term efforts to unify our country," said Rep. Ben Cline (R-Va., 6th District).
Added Rep. Bob Good (R-Va., 5th District): "This action will only serve to further offend the 75 million people who voted for President Trump and further deepen the divisions within our nation as we try to move forward with a peaceful transition of power. However, the Democrat majority has already determined he's guilty."
Republican Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va., 1st District) also opposed the impeachment.
“I believe impeaching the lame-duck President before the peaceful transition of power occurs will only further divide the nation,” Rep. Wittman said. “Our focus now needs to be on unifying our nation and moving forward as one, and I believe impeachment does the opposite.”
North Carolina Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC., 3rd District) couldn’t attend but said he strongly opposed.
“Impeaching President Trump a week before his term ends unnecessarily pours salt in our nation’s deep wounds,” Rep. Murphy said. “The President has committed to a smooth transfer of power. We should let that happen and work on uniting the country rather than dividing it further. I strongly oppose this action taken by the House today.”
The final vote was 231-197 to impeach. All seven Virginia Democrats voted yes. All four Virginia Republicans voted no.
Now that he has been impeached again, even if he's never convicted by the Senate, CNU political science professor Quentin Kidd says this is still a really big deal for Trump.
"Presidents play to history all the time, and so, being the only president impeached twice is a stain on Donald Trump," he said. "It will be the thing that he's remembered for in history."